Superhost

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Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Superhost
"How much you enjoy it may well depend on your tolerance for the type of project it spoofs."

Claire (Sara Canning) and Teddy (Osrric Chau) run a website dedicated to reviewing holiday homes. Most such sites have a short shelf life and they’re struggling to keep their numbers up, which has them tempted to take a more clickbait-focused approach, being more extreme in the opinions they express and exploiting their hosts. They’ve picked a bad time to do it.

The latest house they’ll be writing about is a spacious property which, horror fans will not be surprised to note, is set out in remote woodland. This isn’t entirely coincidental, as Teddy has something he wants to say to Claire and he’s been waiting to find the right place to do it. They’re both impressed by the size and general quality of the house, but there are a few minor problems, like one of the two toilets not working. Host Rebecca (Gracie Gillam) is incredibly apologetic and deals with it right away, not wanting to get a bad review.

So far, so good. But perhaps Rebecca is a little too enthusiastic. A couple of startling moments reveal that she might have boundary issues. The couple decide to stick it out, figuring that their viewers will be amused by her. Perhaps they shouldn’t be discussing that in such loud voices inside the house.

This bubbly social media satire is a world away from the darkness of director Brandon Christensen’s previous works, Still/Born and Z, even if it does get bloody towards the end. How much you enjoy it may well depend on your tolerance for the type of project it spoofs. Claire and Teddy in hyper mode quickly becomes exhausting, but both leads are capable enough to convince as the sort of people who could live that way without coming across as wholly shallow. Though it’s hard to imagine what they see in each other (perhaps it’s simply that no previous date was ever willing to remain in the same room for long), the uneven yet meaningful bond between them feels real.

As Rebecca, Gillam gets to go gleefully over the top, making up in volume what her character lacks in subtlety. There’s a little more to the host’s background than we are initially made privy to, but Christensen isn’t really interested in teasing out sinister secrets so much as in bringing these disaster-prone characters together to see how much mess they can make. With a cameo from Barbara Crampton which strikes a different but complementary tone, this is a well made bit of fluff for horror fans keen to take a break from the grim stuff – even if its comedy is gutsy in more ways than one.

Reviewed on: 02 Sep 2021
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Superhost packshot
With their follower count dwindling, travel vloggers Teddy and Claire pivot to creating viral content around their most recent 'superhost', Rebecca, who wants more from the duo than a great review.

Director: Brandon Christensen

Writer: Brandon Christensen

Starring: Sara Canning, Osric Chau, Gracie Gillam, Barbara Crampton

Year: 2021

Runtime: 84 minutes

Country: US

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